Join Date: Dec 2007
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I have the same Barient 21 STC on my boat. They will have a *little* play rotationally, as the pawls lock in. And, I don't think a little vertical or horizontal play is cause for concern. The drum, as a unit, slips over the spindle and is locked in place by the top cap / cover.
Lack of cleaning/maintanence should not affect "play", but all springs / pawls should be checked (these parts might be hard to get) for wear and proper operation. These Barients were very robustly constructed, but they are indeed aging (mine are 21 yrs old).
Fwiw, I replaced my 21s with Andersen 40STs. I wanted a bit more power in 2nd gear.
It's a buyer's mrkt, so if you want to ask the seller to complete a preventative maintenace as a condition of sale...worst they can say is no.